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Tag Archive: social justice

Feb 22 2014

When Neutrality Is Really Just The Status Quo

[Content note: sexual assault] Someone who declares neutrality on a particular question, issue, or debate seems to automatically gain an intellectual (and, sometimes, moral) upper hand. While there are often social consequences for picking one side or another, declaring neutrality has a very low barrier to entry. Outside of radical circles, nobody will criticize you …

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Jan 16 2014

Having To See It To Believe It: Men and Online Sexual Harassment

Screen Shot 2013-11-09 at 3.26.56 PM

[Content note: sexual harassment] Jezebel recounts the tale of Reddit user OKCThrowaway22221, who pretended to be a woman on OkCupid and was so dismayed, disappointed, and disgusted with the messages he received that he shut it down after two hours. OKCThrowaway22221 is pretty clear about the fact that, at the outset, he did not truly …

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Dec 22 2013

On Not Holding Our Models Sacred: Some Feminist Theories And Their Flaws

Social science relies on models. (No, not that kind.) If you’re familiar with social science, you might be used to referring to them as “theories.” A theory or model in social science is like a theory or model in any other science. It is developed based on evidence and used to explain various phenomena. A …

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Nov 15 2013

In Defense of Conferences #sk6

This morning as I was sitting in my horrifically delayed plane to Missouri for Skepticon, I had this exchange on Twitter. I don’t mean to pick on Ali at all; he stated his argument well (even though I think I’m right and he’s wrong!) and was really great about listening to my take on it …

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Nov 01 2013

(How) Should We Call Out Online Bigotry? On “Somebody Said Something Stupid Syndrome”

Anti-racist Doge to the rescue!

Over at The Chronicle of Higher Education, Ben Yagoda has a post called, “Must Attention Be Paid?” In it, he describes what he called “Somebody Said Something Stupid Syndrome,” or “SSSSS”: SSSSS (as I abbreviate it) begins when an individual writes or is recorded as saying something strikingly venal, inhumane, and/or dumb. The quote is …

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Oct 15 2013

Intent: Just How Magic Is It?

There’s a saying in the progressive community that intent isn’t fucking magic. It comes from this fabulously snarky post about how not intending to hurt someone doesn’t magically keep them from being hurt. “Intent is not magic” is one of those simple, catchy phrases we use to get a point across, kind of like “consent …

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Sep 29 2013

Of Pranks and Playboy: The Pros and Cons of Online Hoaxes

Header for Playboy's fake party guide.

If you were online at all last week, you probably came across a Playboy article called “Top Ten Party Commandments.” The article was in Playboy’s usual style, but rather than emphasizing your typical dudebro disregard for women’s feelings, opinions, and preferences, it’s all about how you can’t truly have a good time without consent and …

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Sep 11 2013

[guest post] Thoughts on the Assumption of Good Faith

Mitchell of Research to be Done wrote this post after he and I and some other friends had a great discussion about social justice and giving people the benefit of the doubt, and how to adjust our beliefs and expectations when we’re proven wrong time and time again. It wasn’t so long ago that Lawrence …

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Aug 30 2013

Making the Normal Abnormal

Much of progressive activism focuses on making things that seem weird, abnormal, and wrong to many people seem more ordinary, normal, and acceptable. For instance, activists have tried to show that being attracted to someone of the same gender is no different from being attracted to someone of the opposite gender, that eating vegetarian or …

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Aug 10 2013

How to Be a Responsible Devil’s Advocate

Devil’s advocate is a tricky rhetorical strategy. On the one hand, it can be extremely useful for exposing the flaws in an argument, helping others clarify and strengthen their positions, and practice your own argumentation. Using devil’s advocate when the topic under discussion is, say, whether or not we should pursue immortality or how best …

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